High diving

Last updated

Synchronized high diving Olympic parc Munich High Diving SV Stadtwerke 0646.JPG
Synchronized high diving

High diving is the act of diving into water from relatively great heights. High diving can be performed as an adventure sport (as with cliff diving), as a performance stunt (as with many records attempts), or competitively during sporting events.


It debuted at a FINA event at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, after the sport was added to the federation's list of disciplines. [1] [2] In the world championships, men jump from a 27-metre-high (89 ft) platform while women jump from a 20-metre-high (66 ft) platform. In other official competitions, men generally dive from a height of 22–27 metres (72–89 ft) while women dive from a height of 18–23 metres (59–75 ft). [3] The sport is unique in that athletes are often unable to practice in an authentic environment until the days leading up to a competition. [1] High divers have achieved speeds of descent of 96 kilometres per hour (60 mph).


R. M. Stigersand in the Men's High Diving competition, Olympic Games, London, 1948 R. M. Stigersand in the Mens High Diving competition, Olympic Games, London, 1948. (7649948496).jpg
R. M. Stigersand in the Men's High Diving competition, Olympic Games, London, 1948

Initially, diving as a sport began by jumping from "great heights". Then it was exclusively practiced by gymnasts as they found it exciting with a low probability of injury. It then evolved into "diving in the air" with water as the safety landing base. Efforts by Thomas Ralph to name the sport "springing" were not realized, as the term "diving" was by then firmly rooted. It soon became a sporting event pursued by many enthusiasts. In the early years of the sport, finding suitable places to jump was an issue, and people started jumping from any high place – in Europe and the United States they started jumping from bridges, then diving head first into the water. This evolved into "fancy diving" in Europe, and, particularly in Germany and Sweden, as a gymnastic act. The sport further improved with gymnastic acts being performed during the diving process, and was then given the names "springboard diving" and "high fancy diving", which were events in the Olympics of 1908 and 1912. The first diving event as a sport, however, was in 1889 in Scotland with a diving height of 6 feet (1.8 m). [4] Today, in Latin America, diving by professionals from heights of 100 feet (30 m) or more is a common occurrence. [5]

Cliff diving has been documented as far back as 1770 when Kahekili II, king of Maui, engaged in a practice called "lele kawa", which in English means jumping feet first into water from great heights without making a splash. [6] The king's warriors were forced to participate to prove that they were courageous and loyal to the king. The practice later developed into a competition under king Kamehameha I, and divers were judged on their style and amount of splash upon entering the water.

The first female world champion in this sport was Cesilie Carlton of the United States, who won the first gold medal at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships with a total score of 211.60. [7] [8] The first male world champion was Orlando Duque of Colombia who received a score of 590.20. [9]


Pool diving

Until 2018, the only permanent regulation-size high diving platform in the world is located in Austria, but it is not used during the winter period. In 2018, Zhaoqing Yingxiong High Diving Training Center, [10] which contains the first year-round regulation-size high diving platform, opened at the Zhaoqing Sports Center in Zhaoqing, China. [11] The training practice is generally done on 10-metre-high (33 ft) platforms. The "competition dives" are collectively put in place in pieces, similar to the way a dress is made. [12] Dives such as five somersault dives can thrill, but some competitors prefer to perform simpler dives. [12]

Outdoor diving

Some outdoor diving involves launching from significant heights. One such diver noted, "There is adrenaline, excitement, danger – so many different energies go through your mind when you jump off. That goes away and then you hit the water come up and it's a massive elation, you feel such self achievement." A rescue team of scuba divers may be involved in some instances, and are required for any official competitions.

Cliff diving

Cliff diving in Switzerland Gunnarseq.jpg
Cliff diving in Switzerland

Cliff divers practice the different components of their dives in isolation and only execute the complete dive during championship competitions. Cliff dives are considered extremely difficult and dangerous, [13] a challenge to every competitor; in addition to the physical challenges, they can be mentally challenging to perform.


Both men and women participate in the High Diving World Championships, but the diving height for women is limited to 20 metres (66 ft). The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is held annually and draws crowds of up to 70,000 people. Participants dive from a variety of locations including castles, cliffs, towers, bridges, and the Copenhagen Opera House. [14] Three well-known divers – Gary Hunt, Blake Aldridge and Tom Daley – the last who competed at the 2008 Olympic synchro, were set to dive on a 27-metre-high (89 ft) platform at the Moll de la Fusta, Barcelona's port; this dive was to be achieved in 3 seconds at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph). Gary Hunt of the United Kingdom won the August 2015 FINA world championships. The average age of the participants in this event was 30. Efforts were being made by divers to make this sport an Olympic event for the 2024 Summer Olympics to be held in Paris, France. [12] However, the highest platform at the 2024 Summer Olympics will be the usual 10 metres (33 ft). [15]

World record high dives

There is considerable debate surrounding record claims for the highest dive, which largely revolves around criteria for what constitutes a valid dive. [16] ABC's Wide World of Sports produced world record high dives for its Emmy award-winning sports anthology show for more than a decade. They required contestants to dive or execute at least one somersault and exit the water without the assistance of others. In 1983 Wide World of Sports produced its last World Record High Dive at Sea World in San Diego. Five divers (Rick Charls, Rick Winters, Dana Kunze, Bruce Boccia, and Mike Foley) successfully executed dives from 52 metres (172 ft). [17] In 1985 Randy Dickison dove from 53.24 metres (174 ft 8 in) at Ocean Park in Hong Kong but sustained a broken femur and could not exit the water on his own. [18]

In 1987, Olivier Favre attempted a double back somersault from 54 metres (177 ft) but broke his back upon impact and had to be rescued. [19] Laso Schaller's 2015 jump from a 59 metres (193 ft) cliff in Switzerland may not be considered a dive based on ABC's criteria (one somersault needed); [20] however, he is the current record holder for Highest dive from a diving board according to the Guinness Book of Records, [21] simultaneously holding the Highest Cliff Jump record for the same jump. [22]


DateHigh diverPlaceHeightVideoNotes
March 1983 Flag of the United States.svg Rick Winters SeaWorld San Diego 52.4 m (172 ft) [23] ABC's Wide World of Sports - World Record High Dive Challenge
Flag of the United States.svg Rick Charls [24]
Flag of the United States.svg Dana Kunze [25]
Flag of the United States.svg Bruce Boccia [26]
Flag of the United States.svg Mike Foley [27]
7 April 1985 Flag of the United States.svg Randy Dickison Ocean Park Hong Kong 53.2 m (174 ft 8 in) [28] [29] Failed attempt, multiple fractures of the left leg prevented diver from exiting the pool unassisted. [28]
30 August 1987 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Olivier Favre Villers-le-Lac, France53.9 m (177 ft) [30] Failed attempt. Broke his back upon impact with water and had to be rescued. [16]
27 September 1997 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Rudolf Bok Žďákovský most, Czech republic58.28 m (191 ft) [31] This was a jump, not a dive. Fracture of the thoracic vertebrae and other internal injuries, no surgery. [32]
4 August 2015 Flag of Brazil.svg Laso Schaller Maggia, Switzerland 58.8 m (192 ft 10 in) [33] Highest dive from a high diving board and Highest Cliff Jump as per Guinness Book of World Records. [21] [22] Internal Ligament Injury to the Knee as a result even though he wore some protection. [34]


DateHigh diverPlaceHeightVideoNotes
1982 Flag of the United States.svg Debi Beachel Rome, Italy [28] 33.3 m (109 ft 4 in)
7 April 1985 Flag of the United States.svg Lucy Wardle Ocean Park Hong Kong 36.8 m (120 ft 9 in) [29]

Health implications

Some research suggests that the impact associated with high diving could have negative effects on the joints and muscles of athletes. [1] To avoid injury to their arms upon impact with the water, divers from significant heights may enter the water feet first.

Pop culture

The 2018 film Bumblebee featured a main character who was a former competitive high diver. [35] [36]

In 2022, YouTube group The Try Guys tested out high diving in Mission Viejo, California. [37]

See also

Olympic events

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diving (sport)</span> Sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard

Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, usually while performing acrobatics. Diving is an internationally recognized sport that is part of the Olympic Games. In addition, unstructured and non-competitive diving is a recreational pastime.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bungee jumping</span> Activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord

Bungee jumping, also spelled bungy jumping, is an activity that involves a person jumping from a great height while connected to a large elastic cord. The launching pad is usually erected on a tall structure such as a building or crane, a bridge across a deep ravine, or on a natural geographic feature such as a cliff. It is also possible to jump from a type of aircraft that has the ability to hover above the ground, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the kinetic energy is dissipated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Quebrada Cliff Divers</span>

The La Quebrada Cliff Divers are a group of professional high divers, based in Acapulco, Mexico. They perform daily shows for the public, which involve diving 30 meters (100 ft) or 41 meters (135 ft) from the cliffs of La Quebrada into the sea below. The depth of water in the "Gulch" can vary from 4.8 meters (16 ft) to 5.8 meters (19 ft) depending on the waves. The width of the channel varies from 12.8 meters (42 ft) to 14.6 meters (48 ft). Timing is crucial for the divers. During the night, they often hold torches while diving. Acapulco cliff diving was regularly featured on weekend sports television programming in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s when the USA High Diving Team competed with the La Quebrada Cliff Divers annually during the Acapulco Christmas Festival. The 2002 Guinness Book of World Records lists this as "the highest regularly performed headfirst dives" in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diving platform</span> Type of structure used for competitive acrobatic diving

A diving platform or diving tower is a type of structure used for competitive diving. It consists of a vertical rigid "tower" with one or more horizontal platforms extending out over a deep pool of water. In platform diving, the diver jumps from a high stationary surface. The height of the platforms – 10 metres (33 ft), 7.5 metres (25 ft) and 5 metres (16 ft) – gives the diver enough time to perform the acrobatic movements of a particular dive. There are additional platforms set at 3 metres (9.8 ft) and 1 metre (3.3 ft). Diving platforms for FINA sanctioned meets must be at least 6 metres (20 ft) long and 2 metres (6.6 ft) wide. Most platforms are covered by some sort of matting or non-slip surface to prevent athletes from slipping.

The men's 10 metre platform, also known as the high diving competition, was one of two diving events on the diving at the 1908 Summer Olympics programme, along with the men's 3 metre springboard. The competition was held from Monday 20 to Friday 24 July 1908. Twenty-four divers from six nations competed. Each nation could enter up to 12 divers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diving at the Summer Olympics</span>

Diving was first introduced in the official programme of the Summer Olympic Games at the 1904 Games of St. Louis and has been an Olympic sport since. It was known as "fancy diving" for the acrobatic stunts performed by divers during the dive. This discipline of Aquatics, along with swimming, synchronised swimming and water polo, is regulated and supervised by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), the international federation (IF) for aquatic sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tom Daley</span> British Olympic diver

Thomas Robert Daley is a British diver and television personality. Specialising in multiple events, he is an Olympic gold medallist in the men's synchronised 10-metre platform event at the 2020 Olympics and double world champion in the FINA 10-metre platform event, winning in 2009 at the age of fifteen, and again in 2017. He is an Olympic bronze medallist in the 2012 platform event, the 2016 synchronised event, and the 2020 platform event, making him the first British diver to win four Olympic medals. Daley also competes in team events, winning the inaugural mixed team World title in 2015. He is a one-time Olympic champion, 3-time World Champion, a 2-time junior World Champion, a 5-time European champion and 4-time Commonwealth champion.

Men's 10 metre platform competition at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics was held from August 22 to August 23, at the Beijing National Aquatics Center. It was an individual diving competition, with dives performed from an inflexible platform, unlike the springboard used for three metre diving, ten metres above the surface of the water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gary Hunt</span> British diver

Gary Hunt, also known as Roger Gary Hunt, is an elite sports diver, specialising in cliff or high diving, and is the 2015 World champion in the High diving at World Aquatics Championships event, where he holds the championship record. With a silver in the 2013 edition of the event, Hunt is the most successful male diver in the short history of the FINA recognised event.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series</span> Annual international series of cliff diving events

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, established in 2009 and created by Red Bull, is an annual international series of cliff diving events in which a limited number of competitors determine the Cliff Diving World Series winner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iván García (diver)</span> Mexican diver

Iván Alejandro García Navarro is a Mexican diver. He is nicknamed "Pollo" ("Chicken"). He competes in diving and represented Mexico at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He won a silver medal in the 10m Synchronized Platform with his partner Germán Sánchez with a high score of 468.90. In the individual 10m Platform, García came the 7th with a score of 521.65.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Germán Sánchez (diver)</span> Mexican diver

Germán Saúl Sánchez Sánchez is a Mexican diver. He is nicknamed "Duva". At the age of 16, he competed in the Men's individual 10m platform at the 2008 Summer Olympics and came in 22nd. He won one gold medal in the 2011 Pan-American Games. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he won a silver medal in the synchronized 10m platform with his partner Iván García. In the individual 10m platform, Sánchez came 14th. In 2016, Sánchez took part in his third Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he came 5th in the synchronized 10m platform, again alongside Iván García. Twelve days later, Sánchez won the silver medal in individual 10m platform. and 9th in the semi-final. He became the third Mexican athlete to win an Olympic silver medal in Men's individual 10m platform after Joaquín Capilla (1952) and Álvaro Gaxiola (1968). He is also the only Mexican diver who has won Olympic medals in both individual and synchronized events.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constantin Popovici</span> Romanian diver

Constantin Popovici is a Romanian platform diver. In 2019, he became the first Romanian to achieve a first-place finish at a stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. He is the 2022 European champion in the 27 metre high dive. He has won multiple medals as part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and he won the bronze medal in the 27 metre high dive event at the Abu Dhabi Aquatics Festival in 2021. For the 10 metre plaftorm event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, he placed twenty-third overall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Daniel Goodfellow</span> British diver

Daniel Goodfellow is a British diver, two-time Commonwealth champion and Olympic bronze medalist. He first represented Great Britain as a senior at the 2013 European Diving Championships in the 10 m platform event and the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in the same event. Goodfellow won a bronze medal in the Men's 10m Synchronised Platform event with his diving partner Tom Daley at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He has also won a gold with Daley in the same event at the Commonwealth Games, and a silver at the European Championships. In 2022 he won his first major title as a solo diver, winning gold in the men's 3 metre springboard at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great Britain at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships</span> Sporting event delegation

Great Britain competed at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia between 24 July to 9 August 2015.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhiannan Iffland</span> Australian high diver

Rhiannan Iffland is an Australian high diver. She is a five-time consecutive Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion (2016-2019,2022). She won her first championship in 2016 as a wildcard entrant in her debut year, the first-ever rookie to do so.

The women's 10 metre platform diving competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was held on 4 to 5 August 2021 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. It was the 25th appearance of the event, which has been held at every Olympic Games since the 1912 Summer Olympics.

The men's 10-metre platform diving competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was held on 6 to 7 August 2021 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. It was the 27th appearance of the event, which has been held at every Olympic Games since the 1904 Summer Olympics.

The Abu Dhabi Aquatics Festival was a FINA-organized international aquatics competition spanning the disciplines of open water swimming, diving, and high diving, which took place from 15 to 20 December 2021 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It was held correspondent to the 2021 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships. The festival was the first time competitions in the three disciplines are being conducted at the same time as and in conjunction with a FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships. In addition to sporting competitions, an interactive village is being provided for festival attendees. Coverage of the aquatics festival on television and via online streaming was provided on six continents with news agencies including ESPN (Americas), SuperSport (Africa), and beIN Sports (Asia) providing international coverage of the high diving competitions.

Aidan Heslop is a British diver and high diver who competes internationally representing Wales and Great Britain. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games he competed representing Wales, finishing 6th in the 10 metre platform and 12th in the 3 metre springboard. In 2021, he won the gold medal in the 27 metre high dive at the Abu Dhabi Aquatics Festival representing Great Britain, performing the highest difficulty dive, a 6.2 degree of difficulty, in history. He placed sixth in the inaugural men's high dive at the 2022 European Aquatics Championships.


  1. 1 2 3 Napolitano, Salvatore; Di Tore, Pio Alfredo; Raiola, Gaetano (2013). "High Diving: Evaluation of Water Impact and Considerations on Training Methods" (PDF). Journal of Human Sport and Exercise. 8 (2): 283–289. doi: 10.4100/jhse.2012.8.Proc2.30 . Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 July 2017.
  2. Adrega, Pedro; Chiarello, Sarah (29 July 2013). "High Diving, Day 1: Pure adrenalin in the port of Barcelona!". FINA. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  3. "General Rules and Regulations for International Competitions" (PDF). World High Diving Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  4. Dubey, H.C. (1 January 1999). Dph Sports Series-Diving. Discovery Publishing House. p. 2. ISBN   978-81-7141-478-9.
  5. Crego, Robert (January 2003). Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries . Greenwood Publishing Group. pp.  136–. ISBN   978-0-313-31610-4.
  6. "History: The real roots of cliff diving are found at Kaunolu, on the Hawaiian island of Lana´i" (PDF). World High Diving Federation. Retrieved 11 September 2015.[ dead link ]
  7. "High Diving, Day 2: History was made: Cesilie Carlton (USA) is the first World champion!". FINA. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 23 August 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  8. Rogers, Iain (30 July 2013). "American Carlton takes inaugural high diving gold". Reuters. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  9. Wilson, Joseph (31 July 2013). "Orlando Duque wins 1st high diving world title". The Big Story. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  10. "Zhaoqing ready for the FINA High Diving World Cup 2019 - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  11. "VIDEO: Zhao Qing High Diving Stadium Opens In China". Swimming World News. 8 December 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  12. 1 2 3 "High Diving, a Crowd-Pleasing Sport, Pursues an Olympic Platform". The New York Times. 5 August 2015.
  13. Harris, Rob. "The Dangers of Jumping into Water From Heights". Livestrong. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  14. Hope, Nick (August 2013). "US great Greg Louganis wants high diving at Olympic Games". BBC Sport . Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  15. "Diving, Paris 2024". 2024 Summer Olympics . Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  16. 1 2 lolajones (7 April 2009). "Seriously extreme diving – the High Diving record, Dana Kunze, and the Deep Diving record, Nuno Gomes". xtremesport4u.
  17. ABC's Wide World of Sports - World Record High Dive Challenge 1983 (172 ft) - YouTube
  18. Randy Dickison's World Record High Dive from 172 feet 8 inches in Hong Kong 1986 - YouTube
  19. Olivier Favre - World Record Highest Dive - 177ft - 54 m - YouTube
  20. Laso Schaller's World-Record Jump Was Not a World-Record Dive
  21. 1 2 "Highest dive from a high diving board (Male)".
  22. 1 2 "New photos: Laso Schaller completes the highest cliff jump ever attempted". 3 December 2015.
  23. ABC's Wide World of Sports - Rick Winters World Record High Dive. YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  24. ABC's Wide World of Sports - Rick Charls World Record High Dive. YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  25. ABC's Wide World of Sports - World Record High Dive Challenge 1983 (172 ft). YouTube. 20 February 2011.
  26. ABC's Wide World of Sports - World Record High Dive Challenge 1983 (172 ft). YouTube. 20 February 2011.
  27. ABC's Wide World of Sports - World Record High Dive Challenge 1983 (172 ft). YouTube. 20 February 2011.
  28. 1 2 3 "High Divers Set Marks at Hong Kong Event". The New York Times. Associated Press. 7 April 1985. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  29. 1 2 World Record Highest Dives (Randy Dickison 174'8" and Lucy Wardle (Streeter) 120'9"). YouTube. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  30. Olivier Favre - World Record Highest Dive - 177ft - 54 m. YouTube. 21 August 2010.
  31. VTS. YouTube. 21 March 2011. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  32. Rudolf Bok (1999). Jsem kaskadér[I'm a Stuntman]. Olympia. ISBN   978-80-7033-591-8.
  33. High Jump World Record with Laso Schaller 58.80 Meter / 192ft Cliff Diving. YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  34. "Wann ein Sprung ins Wasser für Menschen gefährlich wird" (in German). Der Standard. 7 August 2022.
  35. Kenny, Glenn (18 December 2018). "'Bumblebee' Review: Finally, a 'Transformers' Movie That's Actually Good". The New York Times . Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  36. Terry, Josh (20 December 2018). "Movie review: If you hate what Michael Bay did to the 'Transformers' franchise, you'll love 'Bumblebee'". Deseret News . Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  37. The Try Guys (3 September 2022). "Try Guys Try High Diving". YouTube . Retrieved 25 November 2022.

Further reading